HubWeek & Giant Geodesic Domes Set To Land On City Hall Plaza

Posted October 2, 2017 by Brian Keaney in Downtown Boston

When City Hall Plaza was designed in the 1960s, it was supposed to evoke Piazza del Campo, the historic square in Siena, Italy. Architectural historians can debate how successful that effort was, but soon the brick plaza will resemble a Martian outpost more than a Tuscan piazza.

The third annual HubWeek is returning to Boston, and with it comes a series of six giant geodesic domes, dozens of art installations, and scores of shipping containers that will form an innovation village in the heart of Government Center. While events are planned around the city, the City Hall Plaza area has been dubbed “the HUB,” and it will serve as the focal point for all of the week’s activities.

“We wanted something multipurpose and exciting that would capture people’s attention and get them to experience a familiar place” in a new way, Brendan Ryan, HUBweek’s executive director, told the Boston Globe. “Everyone’s been to City Hall Plaza. Most of us like to complain about it.”

Speakers, exhibits, music, art, performances, and even a robot dance party are all in the lineup for the event designed to be Boston’s answer to the widely popular South By South West conference in Austin, Texas. Organizers bill it as a chance to “explore the future being built in Boston at the intersections of art, science, and technology.” Between the speakers, exhibitors, and attendees, they say it will be an “unparalleled concentration of brainpower, ingenuity, and creativity [with a] shared belief that collaboration accelerates innovation. A festival built by a community of smart, creative and curious people–for smart, creative and curious people.”

The lineup of speakers is nothing short of impressive, and this is for a town that just featured Michelle Obama at another conference within the last week. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is scheduled to speak, as is the political commentator Van Jones, Sheila Marcelo, founder of, and Colin Angle, chief executive of iRobot. Best selling author Malcom Gladwell will lead a discussion with surgeon Atul Gawande. Deepak Chopra, the wellness author, is on the roster, as is George Church, the geneticist from across the river at Harvard who is attempting to resurrect the woolly mammoth.

In the evenings, the HUB will come alive with sights, sounds, and performances. There you will be able to experience an enchanted forest, enjoy film screenings, watch live performances, or check out the multimedia installations, light art, and immersive environments. For the entrepreneurial type, Demo Day will put 100 or more of Boston’s highest impact startups together in a single room. In total, there are more than 175 events planned around the city.

The festival, which has drawn more than 20,000 attendees each year since 2105, is being sponsored by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  It will run from October 10-15th, and while most events are free, some require paid tickets and all require preregistration. More information can be found on their website at

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